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26 Jun, 2020 11:17

'It's past time': NFL's Washington Redskins scrub former owner George Preston Marshall from team history amid racist allegations

'It's past time': NFL's Washington Redskins scrub former owner George Preston Marshall from team history amid racist allegations

George Preston Marshall, the last NFL owner to accept the integration of black players into the league, is to have his name removed from Washington Redskins "Ring of Fame" and website, the team has announced.

Marshall, who died more than fifty years ago, was a noted segregationist didn't agree to the addition of black players on the Redskins roster until he was "forced to do so" in 1962. 

That move came an entire decade after the rest of the teams in the NFL had moved with the times – a fact which, given the current climate in US professional sports, has led to calls for the team to strike Marshall from all historic ties with the team.

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Last week, the Redskins renamed the section of their FedEx Field stadium which bore Marshall's name after their late Hall of Fame player Bobby Mitchell, the team's first black player.

Just a day before that, a statue of Marshall was removed from the team's former home at RKF Stadium in Washington. All mention of Marshall is also to be removed from the team's website.

Marshall's granddaughter, Jordan Wright, told the Washington Post that she wasn't the least bit concerned with the decision to take down the statue bearing the likeness of her grandfather.

"No, not at all — not one damn bit," Wright said, when asked if her family objected to the move.

"I was glad to see it come down. It’s past time to see it go."

Marshall owned the Washington franchise from its inception in 1932. The team was originally based in Boston before the franchise moved cities several years later. Objection to the "Redskins" nickname grew in the 1960s, with Native American groups stating that it was a pejorative term towards their ethnicity.

The team has resisted several calls to rename the side in recent years. Current owner Dan Snyder said in 2013 that he would never contemplate renaming the famous franchise.

However, the recent debate regarding race in the United States has once again raised calls for the team to address the nature of its nickname but so far the team, and the NFL, have resisted significant comment on the matter.

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